Muslim community working to educate, dispel myths
Written by, Tara Bannow, Iowa City Press-Citizen
Leaders from the Iowa City Mosque have been doing more recently to reach out to the community in hopes of teaching more locals about Islam and setting straight some of the rampant misconceptions about their faith.
“If you just listen to Fox News, you don’t get the right idea,” said Abdullah Naayer, an Iowa City resident who’s active at the mosque.
More than a dozen people gathered at the Iowa City Public Library on Sunday afternoon, where representatives from the mosque, 1812 W. Benton St., were ready to teach them about the basic tenets of Islam and answer questions. Although many of the guests were Muslim, non-Muslims had been encouraged to attend.
Iowa City resident Marcus Espey organized and led the event. Since converting to Islam in time for Ramadan last July, he’s been working to spread the truth about the religion and clear up some of the misconceptions, which tend to center on terrorism and mistreatment of women.
“There are a lot of people that don’t practice Islam the right way,” he said. “That could misrepresent it.”
The mosque is hosting other outreach events, as well, Naayer said. Every month, leaders from the mosque meet with members of the local Christian community to create a supportive community.
“It’s just to get to know each other, have an understanding for each other and come to form a mutual respect and to be there for each other in the faith,” he said.
Espey wasn’t raised in any religion, yet always found himself fascinated by them.
“I always asked my mom, ‘Why aren’t we going to church? Why aren’t I getting baptized?’” he said.
It wasn’t until a guest speaker at one of his classes at Kirkwood Community College talked about Islam that he became interested and started reading the Quran.
“For some reason, my heart just lifted up and I was focusing on every word he was saying,” Espey said.
Members of the community are always welcome to come to prayer services at the Iowa City Mosque, which are at 12:30 p.m. every Friday, Naayer said.
“We are very open to anybody coming and visiting,” he said.
Reach Tara Bannow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 887-5418.
Original post: Muslim community working to educate, dispel myths